Totally Unicorn Cupcakes

I’m really bad at updating this. Sorry. But also, not really that sorry. I mean, I’m doing life shit, you know? Those entire bags of chips aren’t going to eat themselves.

Nah but seriously, I do need to work on posting stuff at least in a relatively timely fashion. This blog entry refers to cakes I made about a month ago. Eep. Anyway, I made some unicorn cupcakes, to coincide with seeing a great band from out of Sydney, Totally Unicorn.

If you’re not familiar with them, they kinda look a bit like this:

Pic credit: themusic.com.au

They also sound a bit like this.

So yeah, have to make adequately fabulous cakes for such a fabulous band. Unicorn cakes are all the rage at the moment, just look up any baking social media account and you’ll see truckloads of unicorn nonsense. It made my job of finding a unicorn horn tutorial pretty easy though, so that’s cool. I made the horns a couple nights in advance, by winding two long bits of fondant around a toothpick, then rolling in glitter, letting it harden slightly, before gently taking the toothpick out and letting them set completely. You can keep the toothpick in, but I wanted things to be edible without worrying about chomping down on tiny wooden sticks of death.

These are just simple vanilla vegan cupcakes with vegan icing. To make the icing rainbow, I separated a batch of icing into 3 bowls, coloured them with different pastel colours (pink, blue and green), before spooning different colours into a single piping bag. A lot of them turned out more green than I liked, so I added more pink and blue for the last few. Easssyyyy. Topped them with a horny horn, and they were good to go!

They went a bit thin and limpy after awhile, so I don’t recommend taking unicorn cakes to a music festival in the hot Australian sun. But still tasty!

 Oh and uh… made a little cheeky cake, for the ladies.

   Hehe.

Christmas Baking 2016

I was a little bit ambitious for Christmas this year, and wanted to showcase a variety of cakey snack things for my friends. I like to give cake because it’s relatively cheap while still being something people can appreciate and not be some tacky knick-knack that will eventually contribute to landfill. With that in mind, everything I made I packaged either in takeaway containers that I’d washed and reused, or paper bags that could be recycled. It really bums me out that candy canes have to be individually wrapped in plastic, but I’m hoping since Coles supermarkets recycle soft plastics, they can recycle tiny bits of candy cane wrappers.

I think if I had more time or thought about it a bit sooner, I’d look into pretty jars/Tupperware to put treats in. 

Anyway, this year I made a few things for my family and friends that have really looked out for me this year. Everything was vegan since I have many vegan friends/friends allergic to dairy. I made blondies using a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra, and topped with peppermint candy canes and Sweet William white chocolate.

I also made chocolate truffles dipped in dark chocolate. They were originally going to be rum balls, until I remembered a lot of my friends are parents. Haha.

Finally, I also made some gingerbread, using a recipe from the same Isa Chandra book. I think of all the cookbooks I have, I use hers the most! I did my baking over a couple of days rather than all at once. Well worth the effort! This is probably the last baking I’ll do for the year, so looking forward to more baking in 2017!

Rolo Tomassi // Cosmology Cupcakes

Anyone who knows me semi-vaguely knows that I generally prioritise two things in my life: music and baked goods. Being in a position where I can combine the two makes me feel real good! I’ve done a couple music-themed cupcakes now, including Blink 182 cupcakes for my friend’s 23rd birthday, and these cupcakes that I baked for one of my favourite bands, The Dillinger Escape Plan. I think most people can identify with having music that resonates with them, and taking the opportunity to thank/feed my favourite musicians and give something back to them is one of the things that make me honestly happy.

When I heard that Rolo Tomassi were coming back to Australia, I knew I wanted to bake them treats, and I wanted them to be unique to the band. I’ve been a fan of these guys for about seven years now, and they’re not only on my favourite UK label Holy Roar Records, but their US distributor for their latest album is another favourite of mine, Ipecac Records. They’re one of the most hard-working yet super chill bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. The cupcakes are based on their band logo from their 2015 release Grievances, and one of their earlier records Cosmology. I’d been wanting to try make galaxy cupcakes for awhile, so this was a good chance to give it a go! It took a bit of planning to get the effect I wanted, but I think I’ve got it – tutorial will be posted below.

Since some of the members are vegan, I made the cupcakes completely vegan-friendly. I used a basic vanilla recipe for the cakes and frosting, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, a book that Eva had given me for Christmas a few years ago. It is one of my most used cookbooks (if you could tell from going back through my blog), and is just super versatile. I did a bit of a hunt around for black fondant, and found Fondtastic brand (who confirmed through Facebook message that their products are vegan).

To make the logo cupcake toppers, I rolled out the black fondant, cut out circles using a round cookie cutter, and painted the logo on by hand using silver edible paint. The galaxy ones were a bit trickier. To do those, start off with some black fondant, then colour small amounts white fondant using vegan food colouring (I used Wilton gel colouring). Make them the galaxy colour of your choice (I used white, pink and purple).

Tack random small blobs of colour onto your large black fondant ball, then press them in gently. You don’t want to mix the colours too much though, or you’ll just get a grey blobby mess. Then grab a rolling pin and roll it out to get a rough marbled paint effect.

Cut out circles using a round cutter. At this point, I added extra effects by painting blobs of colour using metallic purple paint, spraying and adding various types of glitter, and finally using a brush to fleck white drops of Wilton colouring to make ‘stars’.

The effect is pretty cool, if I do say so myself! I think overall including baking time this took maybe an hour and a half of my time. It’s actually pretty simple, but super impressive if you do it right!

FYI I wouldn’t normally recommend carting cupcakes around to pubs on a rainy night in Melbourne, but I managed to lug these ones around safely! Or safe enough to get into everyone’s bellies, heh heh.

Cookies and Cream Cake Bars

About a month ago it was my friend Jess’s birthday. Jess has recently had her second child, and needless to say with two boys under the age of three it has sounded like a very sleepless experience! I’d been meaning to drop off some meals and stuff to help her out but hadn’t gotten around to it, so by the time her birthday came around I thought it’d be a good idea then to make her and her partner some dinner and cake so they could relax for the night (or as best as you can under those sorts of circumstances).

Lately I’ve been really admiring cake decorating styles that use multiple textures and interesting ways of topping cakes. I recently bought some silicone cake moulds in the shape of bars from Kmart, so decided to try them out and see how they went (also a low-key way of reducing paper waste from cupcake wrappers!). Since Jess is allergic to dairy, I decided to make these completely vegan. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and added some crushed Oreo biscuits (I scraped off the icing from the Oreos and used it in the frosting for the cakes – no wastage!). 

Getting the cakes bars out of the moulds was an interesting experience – I have now learnt that you should let them cool a bit before getting them out so they don’t completely break apart, haha. The frosting is a combination of Nuttelex and icing sugar – I put about a quarter of the mix in a separate bowl and dyed it pink, and mixed crushed Oreo biscuit in the remaining frosting. I then experimented with a couple different piping nozzles to get the different textures, then dusted leftover Oreo dust over the icing, and topped with a mini Oreo (be careful as apparently not all the different Oreo flavours are vegan – I checked the ingredients of the mini ones and they seemed to be okay).

Myself, our friend Ness had afternoon tea with Jess for her birthday and enjoyed scoffing these down – although I think Jess’s two year old may have enjoyed his share of sugar a little too much! Probably a good thing I also dropped off a healthy chickpea tahini salad for dinner, haha.

 

Vegan Vanilla and Peach Curd Cupcakes

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My friend’s daughter Peach turned 4 this week, so I made cupcakes to take to her birthday party! I wanted to play on her name and make peach flavoured cakes, but of course with it being winter here in Australia, peaches aren’t actually in season. I settled for some tinned Australian-grown peaches to make a peach curd 🙂 I also used some peach liqueur made from Balingup here in WA, using local produce. Then I remembered this was supposed to be a children’s party haha, so I also made some plain vanilla cupcakes without the curd.

Making a vegan curd sounds difficult, but it actually is easier to make than regular curd! Without eggs you don’t have to worry about cooking weird fruit-flavoured scrambled eggs! And even though it’s not as rich, without egg or butter to mask the fruit it packs a stronger fruit flavour. It’s basically a semi-solid fruit juice. 🙂 

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Vegan Peach Curd (makes enough curd for 12 cupcakes):

3/4 tin of peaches in juice (with the juice)
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup margarine (I used Nuttelex)
1-2 tbsp super fine cornflour (corn starch/cornmeal)
1 dash peach liqueur (optional)

1. Puree peaches and put over low-medium heat until simmering (don’t let it burn). Add caster sugar until dissolved. Add margarine and and stir until melted and incorporated. Add peach liqueur (if using).
2. Mix some water into cornflour until it makes a liquid, then add cornflour while stirring the peach mix. The liquid peach should firm up and become a consistency similar to regular fruit curd (this will become firmer as well as it cools).

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I baked vanilla cupcakes, took out the centre and filled it with the cooled curd, then topped with vanilla frosting made with margarine, icing sugar, and peach coloured food dye. Overall I’m really happy with the result and especially with the peach curd, gonna do it with a lot of different other fruits I think!

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Squishy curd! Hehe!

Mudcake!

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I’ve been working really hard on my smooth cake frosting. I have a long way to go I think but I’ve been taking every opportunity I can to practice.

This is a mudcake I made for a friend’s birthday. The last mudcake I did was really dry and I’ve been trying to figure out why – I baked this one at a lower temp and it didn’t crack or dry out as much, so I’m thinking the oven temp must be off. I’ve also started doing this trick where you wrap a damp tea towel in alfoil and wrap that around the cake tin to keep the sides moist. I have a few charred tea towels as a result!

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I’m really enjoying sprinkles and looking into getting a few fancy mixes from somewhere like Sweetapolita! There are some really amazing colour combinations and I want all of them, but at $12-20 AUD they’re pretty expensive. Hopefully one day I can justify it.

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Also taking every opportunity I can to show off this new cake stand! I won it on Instagram from La Luna in Inglewood, here in Perth. It was a joint prize as part of the cake I won from Sugar and Nice. How pretty is it? Excited to now have a few different cake stands to play around with now!

Canada Day Cupcakes

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This week, my brother left for Canada. It’s only his second time overseas and he’ll be gone for about six months! To send him off, I made some vegan maple flavoured cupcakes for him and his friends to enjoy at his going away party last weekend.

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Unbeknownst to me, my local supermarket chain has discontinued my usual go-to brand of vegan fondant, so in a panic I decided to make my own using glucose syrup, corn flour, icing sugar and gel food colouring. Handmaking fondant was really messy and a bit tedious, so I hope to find a replacement fondant brand soon! It worked okay, just a bit soft. I think next time I will try and chill the fondant a little bit before cutting out any shapes from it, to avoid wilted looking maple leaf toppers.

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I’m not sure if he did it deliberately or if it was a coincidence, but my brother made it to Vancouver just in time for Canada Day! Happy Canada Day, Canadians!